This past Wednesday I gave a presentation at the HOW Conference in Atlanta, GA. As a respite from the pristine show and tells of finished work sprinkled with anecdotes that support the fabulous work on screen I wanted to focus on the unglamorous side of graphic design. The endless revisions, the variations, the changes, the odd requests — “I like turtles, can my logo have a turtle?” — and the inevitable doom of much of the work we do as bezier- and pixel-based compost for piles of archived CDs, DVDs and 200-gigabyte hard drives. For my slide show I went through almost ten years of archives looking for all the files that never quite made it… the good, the bad and the ug… nay: The tired, the poor, the huddled files yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse, the homeless and, yes, even the tempest-tost. (With apologies to Miss Liberty).
For a section called “75% of your files are trash” I specifically looked for 100 logos that were never selected — or never actually used if they were selected. This is not a Best Of selection. Some of the logos are embarrassing: Half-cooked, half-assed, off-topic ideas with sloppy kerning and poor execution. Equally, there are some very competent logos in there, ready to be printed and shipped. Most of these, if not all actually, were shown to a client. Some were mocked, others praised and a few more ignored. I have another 50 logos that I could have added, but due to confidentiality agreements or because the project has not closed I can’t add them (yet) to this psychotherapeutic exercise. Going through all this work proved to be a soothing/stressing experience as I was able to reflect on the work that I have shown as responses to briefs and made me wonder what would I do differently now. I also noticed a lot of patterns and repetitive executions in my proposals: Plenty of sans serif type and centered arrangements, and a few too many instances of Mrs. Eaves. Was this accurate? Could there be more? After coming back from the conference I decided to do a little forensic exploration of all these deceased logos to unveil my design preferences. Here, then, are 100 unused logos and the ties that bind them.
You can click on the logo grid to see a bigger image, pop-up style.